Tag Archives: Quilts

My Journey in Quilts #8 : Have a Nice Day!

This is the first quilt I made in quite a while and the first that was almost a commission.


I made it for the daughter of a friend who unfortunately is very sick and has to spend a lot of time in hospital or at home. That must be a very frightening and isolating experience for anybody, but especially for a young teenager, so I made the quilt to cheer her up at least a little bit.

But of course I did not just start making any quilt – my friend’s daughter and my own daughter are the same age so I have learned not to pre-judge a teenager’s wishes. So I asked and found out she wanted a colour scheme of red white and blue and more of a rectangular, modern vibe.


So I made block from Tula Pink’s book 100 Modern Quilt Blocks and also used ideas from her book for assembling the blocks. The letters are ironed on using double-sided interfacing and then stitched in place using a zig-zag-stitch.


I only did some very simple quilting: stitching in the ditch along the long horizontal white stripes and freehand squiggly lines to fill those stripes. I first wanted to quilt everywhere, but then I could not get my head around whether to quilt over the letters or not, so I ended up with minimal quilting.


The back and binding are stripes of those fabrics that also appear in the blocks. I was able to make the whole quilt from stash with the exception of the white stripes, so it was a stash buster as well.


I am happy to report my friend’s daughter was pleased with the result!



Parents’ Duty

You know how it is a parent’s most sacred duty to gracefully accept the handicraft of their child for birthdays and holidays? How they must feign enthusiasm even in the face of the most feebly attempts at glueing, cutting out or sewing? How they must keep in mind that it is the thought that counts?

Well, if you have children then obviously you know!

But did you know that it never stops? That you still have to accept your children’s homemade presents when you are well into your 70s and feel you have the right to something nice from the shops? When your daughter is in her mid-forties and has a family of her own?

That’s what my parents might think come this Christmas – because they will be getting hand-quilted table mats from me, that have turned out just a slight little bit too colourful:

Whoho, I hear you saying, that is bright! Not at breakfast, please! And I fully agree – what is fine individually is a bit too much together. Look at those blocks separately:


They look great, don’t they? They are all from Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. I have to say that my work her isn’t doing the book justice – it is a great resource and I have started another project in more muted colours which I think will showcase what the book has to offer much better.

In order to give the option of simple turning round the table mat I added a neutral backing:


Ahhhh, that’s better. This is the “Have a quiet relaxed breakfast” side to the “Breakfast on acid” side with the pattern.

One thing that is a real achievement for me is the free motion quilting which I managed to execute for the first time ever:


View from the bright side:

IMG_5995Clearly there a lot wrong with the quilting. The stitch length is in no way uniform, there are unquilted patches, the curves are sometimes edgy, not curvy – but still it is by far the best free motion quilting I have ever done. In fact it is the first time I have ever finished a free motion quilting project rather than just throwing it out in tears and frustration. So I am sure those table mats will score highly on the “It’s the thought that counts” front.

IMG_5993And case my parents suffer from memory loss I have even put my name to it ;-). At least they have the option to slip those mats into a drawer and quietly forget about them, given that I come to their house only very rarely.


So how about you: Are your craft projects received gladly? Do you like to receive craft presents? What to do if they are not to your taste?

The Internet – A Wonderful Thing

Look what I have got:

IMG_5899Is that some yardage and a jelly roll of Winter’s Lane, I hear you ask?

IMG_5900It most certainly is! I have been dreaming about this for months! And look what else:

IMG_5902IMG_5903Fabric Christmas cards and gift tags! Isn’t that the loveliest idea ever?? I have no idea what to do with fabric Christmas cards exactly, but they are adorable. And have you seen the selvage? Delightful, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But there is more:

IMG_5901A fat quarter bundle of Cuzsco. My world is happy today!

And what does the internet have to do with this? Well, sourcing these fabrics in Germany is hard, often even not possible. Ordering these fabrics via the internet from the US is easy – but postage is expensive, often amounting to more than the actual fabrics and then the parcel might be stuck in customs for ages and I might have to drive to the customs office (around 25km) in order to release the package.

But my husband spent some time in DC recently and so I ordered the fabrics in the US and had them sent to his hotel. And I didn’t even have to pay and sales tax, because the billing address is outside the US. Win-win, I would say (in fact that is the reason why the fabric Christmas cards were purchased, they were about what the sales tax would have been 🙂 )

And just apropos of nothing: I moved my camera about 20cm, and what did I get: a plastic “Mom, are you scared”-frog and one of many toy guns.IMG_5904The joy of living with boys, ey?!

So how about you: Do your fabrics mingle with life? Or do you sew in meditative peace and quiet?

My Journey in Quilts #6: The Wedding Quilt

As announced in my last post my sister got married last weekend and my present to the new couple was this quilt: IMG_4680IMG_4681


My sister is a great fan of all things Scandinavian and I thought a colour scheme of red, black and white might be just right. I made it using a jelly roll of – oh dear, my brain is forsaking me, I can’t remember the name of the line! Can anybody help me out? I bought it in New York, I do remember that… Well, moving quickly on, she says embarrassedly…

Aaaanyway: This is  the first quilt I designed myself, but of course the design is very simple, so maybe it doesn’t even warrant that word. I made one star for each member of the family (my sister, her husband, their son and one for the baby my sister is pregnant with. In the middle they all come together to make up the new family.

I tried to spell out that thought again on the reverse:


There is an initial for each member of the family (and the heart shape for the baby). I made the letters using the technique described by Tonya Riucci. I have admired quilts with writing on for a long time – look at this page on Pinterest, isn’t that just great? However, I didn’t really fall in love with making those letters so  I don’t think I will ever make a quilt that tells a proper story 🙂 .


The binding is just simple red checkered fabric all the way around the quilt. I had some strips of the jelly roll left, so I contemplated making binding in several colours, but in the end I like the solid effect better.


The quilting is a miracle! Not because it is so beautiful, but because it happened at all! I have started to overcome my quilting phobia, thanks to the use of relatively light-weight cotton batting that has made things much easier for me. I simple quilted in the ditch (or imaginary ditch across the solid white squares). Clearly this is as nothing in comparison to what real quilters are doing, but for my level of skill it is great and was happy enough with it to give the quilt as a present.

IMG_4683So how about you? Have you ever gifted a quilt? Who was it for? Or have you been fortunate enough to be given a quilt?

Sneak Preview: My Journey in Quilts 6

I have been away on holiday so I have not done any sewing at all for a fortnight – until yesterday when I sprung into frantic action in order to finish a wedding quilt for my sister who is going to get married … next Saturday. Yes, that is in five days’ time… I am not normally a deadline hugger, normally I get stuff finished in plenty of time, so not having finished the quilt before going on holidays made me really nervous. But then there was a reason for that…

Now I can’t show you a whole load of pictures yet, as I don’t want to show of a present before it has actually been gifted (though I doubt my sister reads this blog, especially five days before her wedding 😉 ) so this is just a sneak preview.


I have actually had a revelation during the construction of this quilt. I have long documented my problems with the quilting part of quilting and because this is the first quilt I’m ever giving away for a big occasion I was very conscious of the standard of my work. So conscious in fact that after finishing the quilting back in August I decided that I hated my work so much that I ripped it all out again. I am not even sure what took longer, doing the quilting or ripping all the stitches on a complete quilt. heartbreaking work in any case!

Yesterday I tried again using a different wadding – and what  a difference that made! Previously I had always used poly wadding, this time I used quite a slim cotton wadding and I had zero problems with slippage of the sandwich layers or crincles on the underside. So in the end redoing everything was the right thing to do!

IMG_4675I did not do a lot of quilting, just rows in the ditch, because I simply do not have the skills to do any more involved quilting. I realise, of course, that even this standard of work is a long way away from perfect, even quite a way away from competent, but it is acceptable and certainly the best I have ever managed. Happily, in this case, there is no German quilting traditions, so very very few people have handmade quilts and my sister will not be able to compare my standards to much other work – all the more lucky for me 😉

After the wedding I will show a few more pictures of the full quilt – I hope you will enjoy them.


My Journey in Quilts: Part 6


Boy, it’s been hot! Here in Germany we really are not used to this kind of non-stop heat – we have had almost continuous sunshine since the beginning of July and temperatures of above 30 degrees Celsius (don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit, but believe me it is hot!). So what with the temperature and the fact that my sewing room is in the loft of our house, right underneath all that heat, it may come as no surprise that I have not exactly been churning out new pieces. So I thought I could blog about a quilt I made a while ago.

In fact the quilt hardly didn’t involve any piecing at all as the main fabric is a print.


It was purchased a few years ago in the East End of London in one of the many shops stocking African fabrics there. Another piece of the fabric almost made it into a dress, but so far this is languishing as a UFO ;-). I might just summon enough energy to do a finish-up-Friday one day…

The time I saved on the piecing of this quilt I put in the quilting as I hand-quilted the whole thing. I have to say I really hated it – I found it boring and tedious and exhausting and upsetting at the same time – and I pierced my fingers more than I care to remember, so I assume this will be my last attempt at hand-quilting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think my annoyance and lack of committment are clearly visible in the quilting too , so I was actually quite unhappy when the quilt was first finished. But now I am glad to report that it has found a happy home in our treasure chest of garden quilts and many happy hours lounging in the garden have now been spent on it. And I guess that is the beauty about quilting – your products become a part of your (or someone else’s life) and take on a new meaning beyond what they meant for the quilter making them.

For my next quilt I still need to up my game: My sister is getting married and so I want to give the happy couple a wedding quilt. I am almost finished with the piecing – still no clever idea on how to do the quilting in the best way though. It’s just been too hot for this kind of hard thinking…

So how are you all coping with the challenges of summer/the middle of winter? Have you managed to do meaningful amounts of sewing recently?

My Journey in Quilts: Part 5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Having made a quilt for all my children of course I wanted to make one for my husband too. For this I used Suzuko Koseki’s technique of piecing and quilting in one go. Basically, you cut block size squares of batting and sandwich it between the back layer, which remains invisible after completion. Then you attach each strip and quilt it as you go. For a quilting-nervous quilter like me (if that makes any sense at all 😉 ) this is a brilliant technique as none of my usual problems (shifty back fabrics, creases, huge amounts of material to manipulate etc) arise.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For this quilt I used only material from my stash, quite a lot of the fabrics have a story attached to them that DH is blissfully unaware, so maybe the quilt has a bigger significance for me than it has for him. There is the fabric of the blinds in our first house… The one I also used for my first son’s baby blanket… Some old bedlinen… A bit from the curtains we took ages to find… The one from the Ikea visit where our daughter was sick…


After finishing all the blocks, the edges are straightened and then assembled pretty much as you would a traditional quilt. Then I added the backing fabric – this is then not quilted at all but only attached via the binding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo now I am the only one in my family not to have her own quilt. Isn’t that just typical 😉 !

How about you, do you quilt for others only or are you looking out for yourself as well?